Riomaggiore: The Complete Guide

The Via dell’Amore is a pathway that links Riomaggiore to its frazione, Manarola, which is also a part of the Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore, situated in a small valley within the Liguria region of Italy, serves as the southernmost village among the five Cinque Terre when traveling north from La Spezia. Dating back to the early thirteenth century, this village is renowned for its historical charm and the wine produced from its vineyards. Riomaggiore belongs to the Riviera di Levante region and boasts a shoreline along the Gulf of Genoa in the Mediterranean. The village features a small beach and a quay adorned with tower houses. The main thoroughfare of Riomaggiore is Via Colombo, where visitors can discover an array of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Riomaggiore, along with the other Cinque Terre villages, is connected by trails and has been designated as national parks due to its scenic waterfront and mountainside. The picturesque beauty of Riomaggiore has served as inspiration for paintings by Telemaco Signorini (1835–1901), a notable artist belonging to the Macchiaioli group.

Visiting Riomaggiore for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Riomaggiore on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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History of Riomaggiore

According to tradition, the foundational of this village dates back to the 7th century when it was established by a group of Greek refugees in the current location of the small village of Montenero, situated up the hill. As the primary urban center shifted towards the coastline, the village came under the rule of various feudal families, including the Turcotti (lords of Ripalta and Cericò) and the Fieschi. In 1276, it fell under the domination of the Republic of Genoa, aligning with the fate of the other villages in Cinque Terre.

The houses are situated along the narrow Rio Maggiore Valley, parallel to the now-covered stream, traversed by steep flights of steps and alleyways. The village features a fishing quarter facing the sea and a farming quarter oriented towards the mountain. A small harbour accommodates boats, and two petite stony beaches are located on either side. The population includes 2500 residents, encompassing those living in the surrounding areas.

5 Best places to See in Riomaggiore

This complete guide to Riomaggiore not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Riomaggiore and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Riomaggiore Castle

Castle Of Riomaggiore
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Chabe01
The Riomaggiore castle is an integral element of the village’s distinctive panorama, greeting you as you gracefully descend along the cobbled road or traverse the steep path that descends from the provincial road towards the village. Often referred to as the “Castellazzo di Cerricò,” owing to its location atop the hill of the same name, […]
Location: Castello di Riomaggiore, Riomaggiore, SP, Italy | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Riomaggiore Castle

Oratory of San Rocco

Oratoire San Rocco Riomaggiore
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Chabe01
Perched in a panoramic vantage point adjacent to one of the towers of the Riomaggiore castle, the modest oratory of San Rocco and San Sebastiano holds its place. Most likely constructed in 1480 as an expression of gratitude for the cessation of a plague, the structure boasts a simplicity of design. The white-plastered façade, consistent […]
Location: Oratorio San Rocco, Riomaggiore, SP, Italy | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Oratory of San Rocco

Church of San Giovanni Battista

Church Of San Giovanni Battista Riomaggiore
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Massimilianogalardi
Dominating the elevated portion of the village, the church of San Giovanni Battista is heralded by an expansive paved square, its northern flank abutting against the hillside. The temple holds significance attributed to two prominent historical junctures. Firstly, in 1340, the construction was initiated by the directive of Antonio Fieschi, Bishop of Luni, during the […]
Location: Church of San Giovanni Battista of Riomaggiore, Via Pecunia, Riomaggiore, SP, Italy | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Church of San Giovanni Battista

Oratory of the Disciplinati of Riomaggiore

Oratory Of The Disciplinati Of Riomaggiore
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Chabe01
The oratory of the Disciplinati, alternatively known as the church of the Confraternity of the Assumption, is positioned on Via Colombo in Riomaggiore, within the district of “La Compagnia.” This architectural marvel stands as a prominent sight for all visitors, nestled along the primary thoroughfare descending towards the sea. Originating from the 16th century, its […]
Location: Oratorio di Santa Maria Assunta, Via Colombo, Riomaggiore, SP, Italy | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Oratory of the Disciplinati of Riomaggiore

Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, Cinque Terre

Sanctuary Of Nostra Signora Di Montenero, Cinque Terre
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Groume
The Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero is a Catholic place of worship situated in the locality of Montenero within the municipality of Riomaggiore, in the province of La Spezia. Perched 340 meters above sea level, the sanctuary can only be accessed via a mule track from the provincial road 370. Together with the sanctuary of […]
Visiting Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, Cinque Terre

Best Time to Visit Riomaggiore

Throughout the year, Riomaggiore and Cinque Terre offer a range of unique experiences, making it a destination suitable for year-round visits. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to plan your visit:

Spring (March to May): During spring, the area enjoys mild and pleasant temperatures, with nature coming to life as flowers bloom. Hiking trails become accessible, and the sea offers a calm environment for swimming. This season allows you to explore the charming villages before the summer crowds descend.

Summer (June to August): The summer months bring extended sunny days, providing the perfect backdrop for swimming and beach relaxation. However, this is also the peak tourist season, characterized by substantial crowds, particularly in July and August. To escape the heat and the masses, consider scheduling your visits for early mornings or late afternoons.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a splendid time to discover Riomaggiore. It offers mild temperatures, reduced rainfall, and a vibrant local vineyard scene with full harvests. This is an opportunity to savour new wines and take part in local festivals. Hiking trails of Cinque Terre remain open, although daylight hours gradually decrease.

Winter (December to February): The winter season is the most tranquil period in Riomaggiore. The villages exude a peaceful ambiance, and accommodation prices are at their lowest. However, temperatures can be quite chilly. This season is ideal for those seeking a serene experience, even though some hiking trails may be closed for maintenance.

Riomaggiore caters to various preferences and activities throughout the year, whether you’re looking for warm beach days, serene hiking adventures, or cultural festivals.

Average Temperatures in Riomaggiore

  • January 12°C 17
  • February 13°C 19
  • March 15°C 15
  • April 18°C 12
  • May 21°C 12
  • June 26°C 8
  • July 30°C 4
  • August 29°C 7
  • September 25°C 13
  • October 21°C 24
  • November 16°C 28
  • December 13°C 22

How to get to Riomaggiore

Flying to Riomaggiore:  The nearest airport is Pisa, about 100 km from Riomaggiore, from where you can take the train as in the option above or rent a car and take the A12 Genoa-Livorno and then the A15 Parma-La Spezia up to Santo Stefano Magra from where you continue as per the previous indications. The Genoa airport is located about 130 km from Riomaggiore, about two hours by car along the A10 Genoa-Ventimiglia for a short distance, then the A7 Milan-Genoa and then the A12 Genoa-Livorno to the tollbooth of Santo Stefano Magra and proceed as indicated. By train, go from the airport to Genova Brignole Malpensa airport is almost 300 km away, 3 and a half hours by car. By train from Malpensa airport it is necessary to arrive in Milano Centrale with the Malpensa Express or by bus.

Taking to Train to Riomaggiore : Getting to Riomaggiore by train Surely the easiest option to get to Riomaggiore is by train. The station is in the village, connected by a convenient tunnel. The line is the Genoa-La Spezia, the ticket price is 5 euros in 2023, 2,5 euros for children.

Driving to Riomaggiore: To reach Riomaggiore by car, take the La Spezia-Santo Stefano Magra exit, accessible from the A12 Genova-Livorno and the A15 Parma-La Spezia. Follow the signs to La Spezia along the SS 370, a convenient two-lane highway. Continue on Via Carducci, turning left onto Viale Italia towards Cinque Terre, as indicated by road signs. Proceed along Viale Italia, passing between houses and later with the sea on the left, until you reach the arsenal. Turn right onto Viale Amendola, then turn left at the traffic lights onto the SP530, following brown signs for Cinque Terre, in the direction of La Spezia football stadium.

After passing the stadium, the road turns slightly left, becoming Via Fieschi. Pay attention at the traffic lights and continue straight uphill along Via delle Cinque Terre (going left leads to Portovenere). This initiates a 12 km climb, passing through Biassa, until you reach Riomaggiore. The road is comfortable, wide, and includes some tunnels. The last two kilometers are downhill toward the village, where the challenge is finding parking.

 

Tours and Activities from Riomaggiore